10 May 2010
Rotax Round 3 – Whilton Mill
Whilton Mill hosted a bad tempered third round of the Super 1 Rotax Championship.
In the midst of the United Kingdom's warmest and driest spring seasons for twenty years it was still somewhat wet and windswept for Super One's visit to the Whilton Mill circuit near Daventry as the ABkC Rotax classes took in their third round of the 2010 season. Sunday's finals were dry after rain on Saturday but winter jackets were still the order of the day.
After several incidents in the opening two rounds things reached a head at Whilton Mill as far as poor driving standards were concerned, prompting chief Clerk of the Course Alan Bryant to make a written statement to the drivers after the event. In three of the four classes the finals were fraught with incident and the series will be hoping that this round was the nadir.
Jack Aitken led the majority of the first Mini Max final until double PFI winner George Russell slipped through with a handful of laps to go. Nearly five seconds behind the lead pair Joe Byrne completed the podium with leading series rookie Ben Hingeley fourth and polesitter Sam Ward only fifth.
Several crashes in the second final spoiled what had been a superb race with Russell re-asserting himself in the championship lead with a late pass on Ward, who then got involved with Oliver Myers going into 'The Boot' on the final lap and fell to third behind Adam Mackay. The Ward/Myers rivalry, which had been bubbling following another incident in the first final, spilled over onto the slowing down lap which resulted in a fine and a licence point penalty for Myers.
After starting the season with a double win at PFI, 2009 Junior Rotax vice champion Matt Parry knew he needed to get that winning feeling back quickly after a disappointing time at Rowrah and he did just that in the first final at Whilton Mill. After Ash Hand and Oliver Hodgson collided, not the first debatable crash of the weekend in Junior Max and sadly not the last, Parry was left to fend off Harry Crawley in the closing laps, which he did by six tenths of a second. Andy King and Jack Marshall, currently first and second in the points table, finished third and fourth.
Final two was a bad tempered affair with Josh Parker getting the black flag for contact driving and several others, Hand included, doing more unnecessary, and expensive damage to their karts.
However the battle for the lead between Parry and Crawley was second to none with the maturing Crawley eventually claiming his first major Junior Rotax victory by less than half a second after a race long duel. Parry kept second, just ahead of a chasing pack that comprised point leader King, Marshall and Hodgson with Nathan Harrison, Sean Babington and Jack Barlow completing the top eight.
Tom Fawcett's fine run in Senior Rotax that included a double win at Rowrah continued at Whilton Mill where he won the second final after a runner-up effort in the first. Combined with the continued tribulations for PFI winners Ed Brand and Michael Simpson, Fawcett's pace, consistency and his ability to stay largely out of trouble has translated itself into a sizeable championship lead.
Jake Ball managed to keep Fawcett and Shaun Slavin at bay to win the first final but only after polesitter and early race leader Ed Brand ran off track in his attempts to re-pass Fawcett after an earlier move. Michael Taylor and Dan Holland finished fourth and fifth with Will Hunter and Billy Albone, two other drivers quietly moving themselves into championship contention, were sixth and seventh. Brand finished 13th although teammate Simpson, who had to qualify for the finals through the last chance repechage, spun and retired.
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